Glenn Graham's fantasy football picks

November 17, 2005|By GLENN GRAHAM

Play of the week

Clinton Portis, Washington vs. Oakland -- The Redskins are coming off a tough loss at Tampa Bay and will lean on Portis to exploit a porous Oakland defense to bounce back. Portis ran well against a tough Buccaneers defense, finishing with 144 yards and scoring a touchdown for the second straight week. For the season, the four-year veteran has rushed for 764 yards and five touchdowns and added 21 catches for 163 yards.

Position analysis

Quarterback

Starting nod -- Marc Bulger, St. Louis vs. Arizona. Bulger returned from injury last week throwing for over 300 yards against Seattle and should produce similar numbers against Arizona. The Cardinals are woeful on the road, allowing 29 or more points in losses to Seattle, Dallas, Detroit and the New York Giants. Their defense will have a tough time contending with all the Rams' weapons, and a big day should come from WR Torry Holt in his second game back from an injury.

Other solid options -- Mark Brunell, Washington vs. Oakland; Kurt Warner, Arizona at St. Louis; Tom Brady, New England vs. New Orleans.

Take a seat -- Drew Brees, San Diego vs. Buffalo; Michael Vick, Atlanta vs. Tampa Bay; Joey Harrington, Detroit at Dallas.

Running back

Starting nod -- Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis. The Bengals' best chance to slow down the visiting Colts is handing the ball off to Johnson and he has proved he can handle the load. If the Bengals can stay close, which they should at home off a bye week, expect a 25-plus carry afternoon for Johnson. For the season, Johnson has ran for 778 yards and three touchdowns.

Other solid options -- Ronnie Brown, Miami at Cleveland; Julius Jones, Dallas vs. Detroit; Samkon Gado, Green Bay vs. Minnesota.

Take a seat -- Curtis Martin, New York Jets at Denver; Kevin Jones, Detroit at Dallas; Stephen Davis, Carolina at Chicago.

Wide receiver

Starting nod -- Donald Driver, Green Bay vs. Minnesota. The Packers' ability to run the ball effectively has helped Driver, evident by his 10-catch, 114-yard performance last week against Atlanta. Another big effort from Driver should be in the works against a Minnesota defense that ranks 26th against the pass. In the first meeting against the Vikings on Oct. 23, Driver caught eight balls for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Other solid options -- Deion Branch, New England vs. New Orleans; Santana Moss, Washington vs. Oakland; Jimmy Smith, Jacksonville vs. Tennessee.

Take a seat -- Jerry Porter, Oakland at Washington; Keenan McCardell, San Diego vs. Buffalo; Eric Moulds, Buffalo at San Diego.

Tight end

Starting nod -- Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Detroit. The Cowboys tight end has been quiet in recent weeks, not finding the end zone in the past three games. That should change Sunday at home against Detroit with the Cowboys sky high after the comeback win over Philadelphia on Monday night. Witten, who has caught 38 balls for 462 yards and two touchdowns this season, had nine catches for 84 yards and a score against the Lions last year.

Other solid options -- Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City at Houston; Bubba Franks, Green Bay vs. Minnesota; Erron Kinney, Tennessee vs. Jacksonville. Take a seatHeath Miller, Pittsburgh at Ravens; Dallas Clark, Indianapolis at Cincinnati; Marcus Pollard, Detroit at Dallas.

Kicker

Starting nod -- Jeff Wilkins, St. Louis vs. Arizona. The 12-year veteran has been a disappointment so far this season with the Rams' offense finding the end zone more than settling for field goals. At home against the Cardinals, Wilkins should keep busy with a mix of PATs and field goals to outpoint Arizona's Neil Rackers, the league's top kicker. For the season, Wilkins is 14 of 16 on field-goal attempts and perfect on 24 extra-point tries.

Defense

Starting nod -- Denver vs. New York Jets. The Broncos' defense busted out against Oakland in a 31-17 win last week, getting four sacks, a fumble and three interceptions, including one from Darrent Williams that he returned 80 yards for a touchdown. Big plays on defense should continue at home against the floundering Jets, who have no passing game.

Last week's tab

Play of the week -- Larry Johnson, Kansas City: 178 total yards

QB -- Kerry Collins, Oakland: 26-for-50, 310 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs.

RB -- Tiki Barber, New York Giants: 206 yards, 1 TD.

WR -- Joe Jurevicius, Seattle: 27 total yards.

TE -- Alge Crumpler, Atlanta: 40 total yards.

K -- Jeff Reed, Pittsburgh: 2 FGs, 4 PATs for 10 points.

Defense -- Carolina: 3 sacks, 2 fumbles, 4 interceptions.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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